‘CONFIDENT’ INGRAM EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AT BRANDS HATCH
Tom Ingram produced another quick and consistent performance to conquer the constantly changing conditions at Brands Hatch last weekend (14/15 May) and increase his advantage in the chase for the coveted BTCC crown.
Despite not benefitting from any hybrid deployment in qualifying – the penalty carried into every weekend by the championship leader – the talented Bucks-born ace impressively qualified sixth amongst the 29 high-calibre contenders, winding up a scant 0.066s adrift of the front row of the grid.
Having fewer hybrid ‘boosts’ to play with than any of his rivals in the opening encounter, Ingram knew he would need to box clever and he did just that, displaying a deft touch on the damp track surface to despatch his adversaries one by one and climb to second at the finish.
From there, he had his sights set on victory in race two – broadcast live on the main ITV channel – but a lively opening lap saw Ingram tagged and sent skating across the wet grass at Surtees, which would be the catalyst for overheating concerns later on. The Hyundai man would eventually finish fifth.
The greasy intermediate conditions persisted in the day’s finale, when from eighth on the partially-reversed grid, Ingram vaulted up to sixth at the start, relieved team-mate Tom Chilton of fifth approaching mid-distance and pinched fourth when George Gamble ran wide at Druids.
In so doing, he extended his margin in the Drivers’ classification to eight points, with EXCELR8 similarly in charge in both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ battles ahead of the next outing on the schedule at super-fast Thruxton on 28/29 May.
Tom Ingram, Driver, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com, said:
“We knew we would struggle in qualifying without any hybrid power, so we were pleased to be in the mix in sixth, and if somebody had offered me second place in race one going into the weekend, I would have snatched their hand off!
“After the contact on the first lap in race two, I was left nursing a bit of a problem as the radiator was stuffed with grass, which meant I had to back off slightly to manage the engine temperature. That obviously wasn’t ideal, so to still finish fifth in the circumstances was a good result, and to complete the day with fourth place in race three represented more solid points.
“We were consistent throughout, which was very encouraging, and we need to maintain that mentality now and stay level-headed moving forward. I’m hopeful that hybrid might not be quite so effective at Thruxton as we will be driving at such high speeds already, and it’s a circuit that I love and where I have won in the past. I’m feeling really confident in the Hyundai and the team is performing fantastically – so let’s see if we can keep this momentum going…”